Susie Hodder-Williams & Chris Caldwell
"clarinet and flute in sparse, unhurried collusion akin to a meditative Feldman work" The Independent June 2011
Susie Hodder-Williams and Chris Caldwell both live on Dartmoor. Their music is fresh and experimental, residing at the edge of folk, classical and improvisation, inspired by the landscape and natural history of Dartmoor.
Susie Hodder-Williams and Chris Caldwell are both professional musicians who live on Dartmoor, one of the UK's National Parks, an area of outstanding natural beauty and ancient Bronze Age history.
Susie is a flautist (piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute and ethnic flutes) and Chris is a saxophonist/clarinettist (soprano, baritone saxophones and bass clarinet). They both have a vast experience as performers in a variety of musical styles; orchestral, chamber music, contemporary jazz, folk and experimental music. Their work together combines these musical influences with inspiration taken from the natural elements found within Dartmoor and beyond.
Mariner's Way is their first collaborative CD which follows, through music, the part- mythical footpath which navigates over Dartmoor and shares the same name. The music here is half composed and half improvised; its sound world is that of water, wind, granite and squelching footfall: the mariner alone on the ancient moor.
In the Autumn of 2011, they toured the USA and Canada, giving performances in venues and art galleries in the cities of New York, Ottawa, Toronto, Peterborough, New Orleans and Houston. In Spring, 2012 they were invited to take part in the annual international music and arts festival, Two Days, Two Nights (2D2N), in Odessa, Ukraine.
They have made two other discs: Northern Lights in with guitarist, Graham Roberts; and The Tao of Homeopathy in collaboration with Ian Watson.
Susie Hodder-Williams & Chris Caldwell (2010)
This album is thematically inspired on the beautiful track in the now park of Dartmoor, where a route is known to have existed as the road between two ports when transferring from one ship to sail on another, now known as The Mariner's Way. It is half composed and half improvised music. The tracks evoke the silence, the emptiness, the loneliness, the breathing of the wind, the rhythmic edges of the elements of wind and water in a stretched landscape with granite rocks, and also traces of walks and stories. The music is often meditative often very descriptive. Mostly very quiet and slowly breathing, there are a few tunes with near-eastern flavour of improvisation, with a few subtle bowl droning or rubbing or tones in the background. On “Reindeer Moss” you can hear breathing with patterns of overtones on flute. “Beardown” with very long notes on low flutes recalling the large ships far away are combined with high notes, find a tune like within a lonely walk with a quicker step near the end. Just the last track with background voices sounds like an arrival, hearing people talking. A beautiful evocative album that can work like a movie, a silent landscape documentary with images with no further explanations needed.
02/12/2010 Radio Centraal Antwerp Gerald Van Waes
SUSIE HODDER-WILLIAMS & CHRIS CALDWELL - Mariner's Way (FMR 291; UK) Featuring Susie Hodder-Williams on flutes & gamelan and Chris Caldwell on baritone sax, bass clarinet & gamelan. Recorded at Kingston University in London in May & July of 2009. Susanna Hodder-Williams is a member of Quintessence, a chamber quintet with an earlier CD out on FMR, not the British folk/psych band of the early seventies. Chris Calder is a member of the Delta Sax Quartet who have that great disc on MoonJune where they cover Soft Machine songs. The Delta Sax Quartet also have a disc on FMR as well as a recently released DVD which we hope to get in soon. The music on this disc explores the mythical journey of the ancient mariner. Starting with the pure-toned, immensely suspense-filled flute of Ms. Hodder-Williams, our journey begins. Although this is a studio recording it sounds like it was recorded in large spacious room with a large amount of reverberation, silence between the notes. On "Shadows" the flute and soprano sax float around one another sublimely. The overall vibe reminds me of a lone lighthouse with its guiding light beaming through the distance in a deep fog. Besides the long breath-like notes of the flute & other reed, the only other sound we hear is the occasional clanging of some percussion or gamelan. On "Celestite" the percussion sounds like the ticking of a clock, while someone whistles slowly and softly in the haze. While listening to this disc, I felt as if I were entering a calm dream-world, sitting on a raft in the middle of the ocean, peaceful and adrift. This helped to ease me out of the usual daily stress that I have to deal with each and every day. - Bruce Lee Gallanter, Downtown Music Gallery DMG New York
21/11/2010 Downtown Music Gallery, New York Bruce Lee Gallanter